15 CommentsHunter X Hunter / By Shinmaru /

Hunter x Hunter 122 – Words vs. Ass-Kicking

hunter-x-hunter-netero-attack

Apologies for being late with this post. I got hit with illness immediately upon returning home and felt like garbage yesterday. Any thoughts I had would definitely have been incoherent goop. Today, they will be only semi-incoherent goop. Enjoy!

This episode. Man, this episode. We finally get Netero (with Banjou Ginga as his new voice actor; RIP, Ichirou Nagai) vs. the Chimera Ant King, and it unfolds in such an interesting way before the fisticuffs even begin. Netero and the King jump down from their Nen dragon and spike the ground like two meteors burning through the Earth’s atmosphere. I expected them to start beating the hell out of each other after a bit of staring down. Nope. Instead, he sits down and offers Netero peace talks. He prefaces it by saying, “Look, I can kick your ass. I know it. You know it. Let’s not shed blood meaninglessly. You’re a good guy. Work with me.” One could be forgiven for seeing it as the bad guy trying to weasel out of fighting the good guy.

But it’s not. In fact, for a moment it’s as if the roles are reversed.

I recently finished Legend of the Galactic Heroes. In this scene, the King reminds me briefly of Reinhard von Lohengramm, the youth who rises to the top of the Galactic Empire and shifts the direction of his kingdom. Like Reinhard, the King initially exists to fulfill a selfish impulse (“I’MMA RULE THE WORLD!!!!!!!” for the Ant King and “I will kill every rotten, power-abusing noble asshole in the Empire!!” for Reinhard) that eventually becomes purer (“I will use my power to protect the weak” for the Ant King and the reshaping of society for Reinhard). They both have someone who helps nurture a more humanistic compassion in them (Komugi for the Ant King and Hildegard von Mariendorf for Reinhard after … spoilers). And they both represent the benevolent dictator at the head of an autocratic society (ideally). When the King invited Netero to sit down and treat with him, I’m not gonna lie, I got REALLY excited. I love when characters speak with each other intelligently about things that MATTER, things that we have stakes in.

So when Netero decides to smack the King with his GIANT BODHISATTVA HAND instead of chatting with him, I briefly reacted like, “wow that was a real dick move, buddy.” That’s how big the shift in the King has been — I momentarily forgot what a real danger he is despite the massive shift in his thinking.

hunter-x-hunter-king-charging-power

First of all, Netero’s hands are tied. He’s the leader of an organization that ultimately serves people. Many Hunters go and do their own thing, but they get hired for jobs, too. If you go back on your word, that’s it. It’s an ideal that Netero upholds even though he knows full well this is a shit situation. I mentioned Reinhard earlier; well, this is the type of situation in which Reinhard’s counterpart in the Free Planets Alliance, Yang Wenli, would find himself. He believes unshakingly in his ideal of democracy even though he’s constantly shit on by corrupt and/or idiotic politicians. Yang often tried to talk people out of dumb ideas, but when he couldn’t do that, he would follow an order, even into disaster. That’s Netero here. Even if he were convinced that the King has fully embraced his human side, Netero would still try to kill the King. It’s why he was hired. If he doesn’t try to fulfill his mission, the organization as a whole suffers.

But let’s go backward a bit. What if Netero didn’t have that weighing on his mind? What if he could just make his own decision, damn the consequences? I still think he would try to kill the King. The key is that he is not yet convinced that the King is not dangerous to humanity despite embracing more of his human side. Look at his choice of words (in the Crunchyroll translation): “I must make this fast … before my heart is swayed.” There’s still an underlying suspicion. It’s not that the King is knowingly trying to trick Netero; rather, there’s the fear that the Ant side that is dormant may suddenly, violently become dominant.

The King is displaying good human traits right now: empathy, a sense of responsibility, rationality, etc. The King is not a violent brute who takes what is desired by force. The King says that force will be used only as necessary to restore order, and then peace will be the word of the day. It sounds about as good as you could get. But there’s a flip side to that humanity, that emotion. What would happen if, say, Komugi were to die before the King truly comes to grips with that humanity? It’s easy to forget because the King has grown so quickly, both physically and emotionally, but has that growth resulted in full emotional maturity yet? Komugi is the King’s first real friend. She is the first to burrow into the King’s heart. Will the lessons she taught the King stick around should Neferpitou fail to patch her up?

hunter-x-hunter-netero-angry-face

That’s what Netero struggles with. The Ant/human divide in the King is simply too big a wild card to take a chance on. If the King suddenly decides “Nah, I’m just gonna blow up humanity, deal with it” then there’s very little that can be done. This is THE chance. That’s why he shows no hesitation.

But for real I would totally would have watched a whole episode of intense debate.

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15 Comments

  1. Canary Paint
    Posted March 27, 2014 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    Agree with everything you wrote… Also, it is not like the King could say, “Hello everybody! I kick ass! I rule now!” There would be some inevitable and awful world war of ant kingdom vs. humans that just won’t give up their kingdom. We could thus say Netero has to fight to avoid a massively deadly world war.

    • Posted March 27, 2014 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      And there’d be no guarantee of the rest of the ants thinking like their king.

      • Shinmaru
        Posted April 1, 2014 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

        Pretty much. I don’t think that many Ants would be dumb enough to defy the King, but it would still be chaotic for a while.

  2. C
    Posted March 27, 2014 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    Shame you ignored Youpi and Pouf and everything but Meruem took center stage. But yeah Netero’s “Before my Heart is swayed to me” was “I have got to kill this bug before I start thinking he is in the right”

    • Shinmaru
      Posted April 1, 2014 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

      When I find something to focus on, I focus pretty hard!

  3. Gan_HOPE326
    Posted March 27, 2014 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    Yup. It’s pretty much “either I try to kill him now, when he’s at the weakest he’ll ever be, despite him looking almost decent, or tomorrow he could become a total monster and there would be no way to stop him”.

    That, and the whole war thingy that I’d like to call World War A for the cool factor. I’d like to see that anime too though.
    Also did you enjoy the King’s Symposium episode in Fate/Zero? Because that’s basically your whole episode of debate.

    • Shinmaru
      Posted April 1, 2014 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

      Yep, that was one of the Fate/Zero episodes I enjoyed a lot.

  4. Langer
    Posted March 28, 2014 at 12:48 am | Permalink

    New idea for a spinoff – Netero + Ant King form a partnership and go into business in a law firm together. Work is hectic, ethical conflicts are rife and every-so-often King would turn to Netero asking to “pick his brain for a minute” before going into Ant-mode. They always end up working out their issues and impart a philosophical conversation as closing remarks.

    Fun for the whole family.

    • Posted March 28, 2014 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

      MerueMason & Neterocelli.

    • Shinmaru
      Posted April 1, 2014 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

      I would watch the HELL out of this.

  5. il-Palazzo
    Posted March 28, 2014 at 1:43 am | Permalink

    And then there’s the little blink-and-you-miss wording of his choice that he’ll protect the weak who is ‘worthy’. And of course it’ll be him who decide who’s worthy enough to live.

    That’s right. He alone will be the judge of the entire humanity like the goddamn Anubis. And what will happen to the unworthy?

    Either:
    1) He kills them. (worst)
    2) He just ignores them. Don’t give them protection. (best?)
    3) He exiles them or put them into a camp or something.
    4) He repeats what he’s currently doing in North Korea right now. Punch them with Pitou’s nen-powered puppet to give them a chance to become nen-user (worthy) or die trying.

    • Mr. Anon
      Posted March 28, 2014 at 2:30 am | Permalink

      Yeah, that was enough to let me firmly believe he still needs to be eliminated. At the moment he still wants to fuck over more than 99% of humans who have and never will have nen abilities. Fuck that shit yo.

      He’s shown a lot of growth, so might theoretically end up changing his ideas for the better, but it’s not really a risk worth taking.

      • Canary Paint
        Posted March 28, 2014 at 5:18 am | Permalink

        Furthermore, we know the King does not have the time to play board games with every weak person on the planet.

      • Shinmaru
        Posted April 1, 2014 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

        If he beats them within seconds, then he might!

    • Shinmaru
      Posted April 1, 2014 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

      Sounds like a fun ruler!

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